• Heinz launched its Heinz-to-Home service during the first COVID-19 lockdown in 2020, indicative of the rise of DTC e-commerce channels.
    Heinz launched its Heinz-to-Home service during the first COVID-19 lockdown in 2020, indicative of the rise of DTC e-commerce channels.

Kraft Heinz Australia has launched a direct-to-consumer (DTC) channel, Heinz to Home. The e-store offers two pre-packed bundles of products including Heinz soups, Heinz sauces and condiments, Heinz Baked Beanz & Pasta, which are then home delivered.

Kraft Heinz Australia CEO Simon Laroche said the Australian launch followed on from its implementation in the UK, providing consumers with an online one-stop-shop. “The two Heinz bundles first available on our site have been carefully curated, and are winter staples for many Aussies,” Laroche said.

A company like Heinz can have an enviable position in times of uncertainty like the current pandemic. Analytics and research company GlobalData found heritage brands and those with a long-standing presence in consumers’ minds are benefitting from the trust they have built with fans.

GlobalData said consumer comfort seeking is a retreat to brands that are ‘familiar’. GlobalData found that nearly half (49 per cent) of UK consumers are currently trying to only buy from their favourite brands during the lockdown.

It found 50 per cent of consumers stated how familiar/trust-worthy/risk-free a product/service feels has the greatest influence on their product/service choice. This comfort seeking is a reversal on the more recent trend of increasingly experimental consumers.

Euromonitor International said another big shift in consumer behaviour was that pre COVID-19, a leading consumer trend was about artificial intelligence becoming mainstream. Now, it is about choosing self-isolation and increased need for contactless services and delivery.

Nielsen global intelligence leader Scott McKenzie said what we are seeing are changes that may have taken years to evolve taking place in a matter of months.

McKenzie said: “The world is fundamentally recalibrating right now. Consumer habits are changing at pace and understanding those changes, in the context of these scenarios, will be critical as businesses prioritise how they too recalibrate to meet the changed circumstances driven by COVID-19.”

Statistics specialist Statista said e-commerce is expected to grow 14 per cent by 2021, meaning consumer packaged goods (CPG) manufactures have to rise to the trend and invest in an omnichannel strategy.

In the US, PepsiCo launched its two D2C sites in under 30 days. PantryShop.com and Snacks.com were built completely inhouse, leveraging end-to-end capabilities built from the ground up by its ecommerce team.

PepsiCo senior vice president & head of eCommerce Gibu Thomas said the company had been investing in its eCommerce and digital capabilities over the last few years. “In these uncertain times, as more and more consumers are using eCommerce channels to purchase food and beverage products, PantryShop.com and Snacks.com offer shoppers another alternative for easy and fast access to products they love.”

For Heinz to Home, Laroche said: “We understand that you can’t always get the products you're looking for at the moment and that others have less opportunity to shop.

“The Heinz To Home online service allows you to these order bundles of Heinz products directly to your doorstep, or to someone you care about, so you and your loved ones can stay home and stay safe.”

The restrictions ramping back up in Melbourne and Victoria, Laroche said the company was offering free delivery to the first 400 bundles going to people in suburbs currently under Stage 3 lockdown.

Thomas said PepsiCo’s kits were based on research designed to meet consumers’ “new normal” such as working and exercising from home and home schooling. Pantryshop.com offered three categories: Rise & Shine; Snacking; and Workout & Recovery. It’s Snacks.com was tapping into the increased demand for snacking, offering more than 100 of their favourite Frito-Lay products.

The PepsiCo channels are interesting in that the company chose not to set up one over-arching site, instead opting for two unique options targeting very specific needs.

Benefits from developing a DTC channel is the depth of customer data captured as well as building brand loyalty. Thomas said: “The test for direct-to-consumer always is, can you provide a value proposition that really resonates with the consumer? Because that’s when you get the repeats. That’s when you get the sustainable proposition.”

For Laroche, Heinz to Home is as much a hub for some of the brand’s most loved essentials, but also a place the company will be able to offer limited-edition products and merchandise.

Heinz to Home has launched with two signature bundles – Winter Warmers and The Essentials.

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